Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education United Kingdom Hardware

BBC Micro:Bit Learn-To-Code Device Up For Public Pre-Order In UK (techcrunch.com) 36

An anonymous reader writes from a TechCrunch report: A tiny programmable board designed as part of an educational initiative for UK kids to learn programming skills and originally distributed by the public service broadcaster, the BBC, to one million schoolchildren is now up for public pre-order. The micro:bit is available for public pre-order in the UK, via Element14's website, with delivery slated for July. Although at this point it's being sold in minimum quantities of 90 for resellers (such as Microsoft) to then sell on to individuals. So consumers will have a bit longer to wait to be able to buy a device just for themselves. Prices start at 12.99 Pound ($19) for a single BBC micro:bit; 14.99 Pound for a starter kit which includes a BBC micro:bit, mini USB, battery pack and four project ideas; and 140 Pound for a 'BBC micro:bit Club' pack, which includes 10 devices and "everything needed to get a coding club started". The intention with the micro:bit project -- part of the BBC's wider 'Make it Digital' initiative to inspire "a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology" -- was always to open up the distribution of the device after the initial giveaway.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

BBC Micro:Bit Learn-To-Code Device Up For Public Pre-Order In UK

Comments Filter:
  • The Pi Hut (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
  • 12.99 British Pounds equals 18.71 US Dollars.

    The Raspberry Pi Zero only costs 5 US Dollars.

    Even a simple Arduino Pro mini clone on eBay costs under 2 US Dollars and is much more powerful. You could probably get a classic Arduino clone with a color TFT LCD shield with a built-in gamepad and buttons for the price of that BBC Micro:Bit with its lame LED matrix.

    • 12.99 British Pounds equals 18.71 US Dollars.

      The Raspberry Pi Zero only costs 5 US Dollars.

      Even a simple Arduino Pro mini clone on eBay costs under 2 US Dollars and is much more powerful. You could probably get a classic Arduino clone with a color TFT LCD shield with a built-in gamepad and buttons for the price of that BBC Micro:Bit with its lame LED matrix.

      Or you could use the PC that's been sitting in the corner of the room. It's got a keyboard and screen and everything.

      • I know the youths of today have baggy pants, by they're not that baggy, how are they going to carry it home? Actually that reminds me of that guy who brought his full desktop gaming PC into Starbucks. :-) The staff say technically he bought a coffee so he's okay to sit there.

        • Who learns to code at school?
          The interested kids will do it the way it's always been done, by hacking on their parent's computers until their parents get them their own.

          • Who learns to code at school?

            Based on how politicians are talking I would say everyone.

            The interested kids will do it the way it's always been done, by hacking on their parent's computers until their parents get them their own.

            I'm sure they would. Now what has this got to do with a program to develop educational tools for schools again?

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @11:22AM (#52225833)

      You are comparing apples to oranges. The RPi-Zero does not come with a header, so you will need to do some soldering. A better comparison is with the standard RPi, which costs more. The BBC Micro:Bit has additional sensors, including a 3D accelerometer. The Arduino is a nice device for learning electronics and bit banging, but it does not run Linux, has no HDMI or other video port, and cannot be used as a standalone computer.

      Anyway, once something is "cheap enough", a few dollars here and there should not be the deciding factor. The features and capabilities matter more.

      • by nadaou ( 535365 )

        This thing does not run Linux. It's a cut down micro controller even simpler and less capable than an Arduino.

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @11:28AM (#52225867) Journal

      Beyond some thresholds, it's not about price, it'd about consistency.

      This is why the RPi is more popular than the cheaper and more powerful alternatives off eBay and AliExpress. They're consistent and there's a good community. You spend a bit more but you're sure it will work the same every time.

      Same with this. I mean sure everyone could have their own cheapass clone with complex peripherals etc etc. But that's not what the BBC is trying to do. Much like the previous effort, it's an educational initiative. This means that it's better for the devies to be completely consistent all of the time, and completely under the control of the BBC.

      Likewise the point is for education, so a "lame" LED matrix is a better bet than a colour TFT because it's much much easier to understand.

      And if you need a device for yourself evaluate it based (a) on whether it does what you need, (b) whether guaranteed consistency and the lack of fucking around time is important and (c) if a and b how it stacks up to other known good vendors.

      Simply opting for the cheapest/most powerful device is generally silly.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly, and also some of that extra cost will go towards all the educational material on https://www.microbit.co.uk/

        Which you might not care about if you are a hacker just wanting to play around with the device, but vitally important for an educational device aimed at 12 year olds.

    • and is much more powerful.

      And thus we've missed the point.

      As well as ignoring the hidden costs of the alternatives which aren't plug and go out of the box.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Raspberry Pi Zero only costs 5 US Dollars

      It has to be available to buy first.

  • Good grief. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @12:09PM (#52226353)

    The whole "everybody needs to learn to code" thing has got out of hand. Everybody DOES NOT need to learn to code, and in fact many if not most people have no interest or aptitude for programming . Some people need to learn to weld. Others need to learn to cook. Yet other need to learn to drive trains. Some people (but obviously not Slashdot "editors") need to learn to write and edit. And quite frankly, there are the vast majority that will never move beyond learning how to drop a fry basket. But everybody DOES NOT need to learn to "code".

    • Re:Good grief. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @12:13PM (#52226403) Journal

      Everybody DOES NOT need to learn to code, and in fact many if not most people have no interest or aptitude for programming

      By the same logic, everybody does not need to learn about literature, history, mathematics, woodwork, PE, geography, chemistry, physics, biology, civics, or any of the wide variety of thing you get exposed to in school.

      Some people need to learn to weld.

      So? How on earth are you going to know who is good at welding and who is good at coding if you don't try to teach both? Or do you only plan on teaching welding to those people who picked it up all by themselves welding the doors shut on dad's car age 5?

      • By the same logic, everybody does not need to learn about literature, history, mathematics, woodwork, PE, geography, chemistry, physics, biology, civics...

        Correct.

        • Correct.

          So... we should select a vocation for the kid before they are really old enough to know what they want to do for the rest of their life, then never expose them to anything else in case it turns out we're wrong?

          What is this, Brave New World?

    • The thing is, almost everything we do these days in our modern world is run by a computer of some kind. While I agree that not everyone should or even can learn to code, they should at least be given a basic coding level course, it could be in BASIC for all I care. The only thing people really have to learn from these classes is that computers have memory (like the memory on a calculator, but a computer has millions of them), can perform math operations on these memory cells and can decide do to things base

    • Re:Good grief. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Koen Lefever ( 2543028 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @12:28PM (#52226549)

      The whole "everybody needs to learn to code" thing has got out of hand.

      This is nothing new, BBC Micro has been promoting learning to program since 1981 [wikipedia.org].

      • Fun fact: The company behind the BBC micro, Acorn, then developed their own computer architecture, for their follow up computer, the Archimedes. The architecture was named after the company; the Acorn Risc Machine, or ARM, for short. It got quite popular as time went on... :-)

        Reportedly they even used the BBC micro in the development of ARM.

    • "Learning to code" is actually a by-product of this endeavour NOT the main focus.

      It's about Problem solving skills.

      Give a group of kids a Problem to solve and the tools required to find a solution.

      This can be in any medium you like, for example give them a pile of wood, rope and woodworking tools and tell them to make a working trebuchet.
      It's just that it's cheaper and safer to use electronics and coding rather than Middle-age siege weapons!

  • These things are a bad, expensive joke and (to some extent) a Microsoft and Google trojan horse. The BBC just had to have its own project rather than being sensible and supporting Pi development and adoption. If £30 odd is too much, then buy an Arduino or a clone, more community etc. etc. And before the troll that attacked me about this last time reappears, I'm a Brit, old, a 40 year industry veteran and a UK schools volunteer.

We are experiencing system trouble -- do not adjust your terminal.

Working...